The Cottage Hill Civitan Club has named Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bernard Eichold II as the 2012 Mobilian of the Year.
As Mobile's most prestigious civic honor, the Mobilian of the Year award has been given annually since 1948 to an individual who has made an extraordinary, positive impact on the Mobile community.
Through a community approach to public health, Eichold has made great strides in improving the health of Mobile County residents since assuming the role in 1990. His engagement of public-private partnerships has helped advance several public health initiatives.
With an educational and awareness strategy, the teen pregnancy rate has had a sustained decline in the last decade. His crusade against smoking in public places has enabled several municipalities to adopt comprehensive smoking ordinances. During his tenure, Eichold has re-engineered the agency, taking it from a single-site service facility to an integrated system of 10 service delivery sites where residents can seek medical care closer to their homes.
The Mobilian of the Year banquet will be held on Thursday, April 4, at the USA Mitchell Center. A cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.
The Civitan Club of Mobile sponsored the Mobilian of the Year program from 1948 until 2007, when the Cottage Hill Civitan Club began coordinating the event. In 2007, USA joined the Cottage Hill Civitan Club as a partner in the event. USA is not involved in the selection process for the award.
Randall "Randy" Eckhoff, Mobilian of the Year chairman for the Cottage Hill Civitan Club, said the Civitan Club is excited about the 2012 Mobilian of the Year award program.
Dr. Bernard Eichold II: A Commitment to Community Health and Service
During the last two decades, Eichold has revolutionized the Mobile County Health Department. Under his leadership, access to health care has been greatly enhanced: patient visits have increased from 64,484 to 142,989 on an annual basis. Revenue for the organization increased to $33 million in 2011, from $11 million in 1990. From 1990 – 2011, total revenue for the organization was $460 million, with an estimated economic impact to the community in excess of $782 million.
The agency is run as a business utilizing different funding streams to include user fees. In 2012, federal grants were received for renovations to the Citronelle Clinic in the amount of $500,000 and a new point of access in southwest Mobile County for $650,000 ongoing annually.
Additionally, he continues to serve on the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council. As chair of The Funding Collaborative, it selected as one of the 31 United States sites to qualify for national funding.
He has academic appointments with the University of South Alabama as a faculty member in the College of Medicine where he has served as the co-course director of public health and epidemiology.
Eichold is a member of the Alabama Public Health Association, American Public Health Association, Mobile United, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, The Community Foundation of South Alabama and South Alabama Workforce Development Council. Eichold serves on the Board of the Mobile County Hospital and as chair of the Board of Directors for The Community Foundation of South Alabama, as well as involvement in various other community service organizations.
Born and raised in Mobile, Dr. Eichold is married and is the father of three children. He is a graduate of Tulane University where he obtained a bachelor of science degree, master of public health degree, medical doctor degree, and a doctorate of public health degree. He is an alumnus of Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama. Eichold is a retired captain of the United States Navy.
Civitan International is devoted to improving the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Civitan International Clubs enrich communities across the globe by sponsoring summer camps, vocational programs and Special Olympics. Civitan International Research Center focuses its scientific energies on developing cutting-edge treatments for autism, cerebral palsy and Alzheimer's disease.
The Cottage Hill Civitan Club
The Cottage Hill Civitan Club has worked with many local charities over the years. The group supports Augusta Evans Special School and its Foundation. It has also given time and resources to the Mulherin Home, United Cerebral Palsy's Camp Smile, MobileARC, Penelope House, Team Focus, L'Arche of Mobile and Wilmer Hall Children's Home. The group also sponsors Junior Civitan clubs at local area high schools, training the next generation in civic involvement.
Since 1948, area Civitan clubs have championed civic involvement through the Mobilian of the Year award, the most prestigious
and longest-running award in the region.